Skycycle X-2

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Skycycle X-2
Rocket with front end tilted upwards and a flight suit in front of it.
Evel Knievel's X-2-2 Skycycle on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum in September 2010.
Role Stunt aircraft
Manufacturer Robert Truax
Designer Douglas Malewicki
First flight 25 August 1974
Primary user Evel Knievel
Produced 1974
Number built 3

The Skycycle X-2 was a steam-powered rocket owned by Evel Knievel and flown during his Snake River Canyon jump. An earlier prototype, the Skycycle X-1 designed by Doug Malewicki and retired United States Navy engineer Robert Truax, superficially resembled a motorcycle. The Skycycle X-2 was designed by Truax, and ridden by Knievel in his attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho on September 8, 1974. The parachute deployed during the launch, causing the stunt to fail.[1] A later analysis showed that a design flaw in a mechanical parachute retention cover, which did not properly take base drag into account, caused the premature parachute deployment. Following the failed jump, Truax blamed Knievel for the failure and vice versa. Later Truax accepted full responsibility for the failure.[2]

Although the parachute deployed early, the aerial photographs show the X-2 cleared the canyon. However, the winds blew the rocket back to launch side, crashing at the bottom of the canyon, barely missing the river. Knievel stated that if the X-2 had landed in the water, he would have drowned, as he did not have the ability to release himself from the harness.[3]

In order to obtain permission from the State of Idaho to perform the canyon jump, the X-2 was registered as an airplane rather than a motorcycle.[4]

Three X-2 Skycycles were built for Knievel.[5][6] The first two were used for test flights. Unable to fund further tests, Knievel used the third for the canyon jump. In 2007, the X-2-1 Skycycle was offered for sale for $5,000,000.[7] The X-2-2 is owned by the Knievel estate and periodically exhibited along with a museum of Knievel artifacts.

Recreating the jump[edit]

Since the 1974 launch, seven daredevils have expressed interest in recreating the jump, including Knievel's two sons Robbie and Kelly. Robbie announced he would recreate the jump in 2010.[8] Stuntman Eddie Braun announced he is working with Kelly and Robert Truax's son to recreate the jump using a replica of the X-2 Skycycle.[9] To date, no official jump has been announced or attempted.

Audi commercial[edit]

"Each time I was hurt, they all said, ‘that guy is lucky that he’s not dead.” And they were right. But I wanted to get up and try it again."

Evel Knievel, quote used in the 2012 Audi commercial.

On July 18, 2012, Audi of America recreated Knievel's Snake River Jump in a promotional commercial for the Audi RS5. The commercial depicts the RS5 being driven by a professional driver and jumping the canyon off a jump ramp.[10]

See also[edit]

Aircraft with the same name:


  1. ^ Evel Knievel's X-1 Skycycle, rocket powered CANYON JUMPING motorcycle!
  2. ^,1578027&hl=en The Milwaukee Sentinel - Sep 9, 1974
  3. ^ Stuart Barker, Life of Evel Knievel, St. Martin's Press, 2008.
  4. ^ Stuart Barker, Life of Evel Knievel, St. Martin's Press, 2008.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Absolute Evel: The Evel Knievel Story, History Channel 2005
  7. ^ Evel Knievel Skycycle Snake River Rocket For Sale
  8. ^ Associated Press, "Robbie Knievel hopes to jump Snake River Canyon", Billings Gazette, May 9, 2010
  9. ^ Martin, Joey, KMTV News, "40 Years Later and Gearing Up For Another Jump", September 8, 2014
  10. ^ Harbor, Phillip, "Audi Tries to Jump Snake River Canyon in Evel Knievel Tribute", CarBuzz, September 12, 2012